As Congress grapples with a financial bailout bill valued at as much as $700 billion, it’s little wonder that a $56-billion stimulus package announced Thursday didn’t get much attention. However, the Reid/Byrd Economic Recovery Act of 2008, named after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd, has a little bit of something for a lot of agencies, including NASA:
NASA. The bill provides $250 million for NASA to help shorten the projected 5-year gap between the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 and the availability of the new U.S. space vehicle in 2015. During this gap, the only way U.S. astronauts will be able to access space will be aboard Russian vehicles.
Every little bit helps, although $250 million won’t itself reduce the Shuttle-Constellation gap by very much.
Update 1pm: Well, that was fast: Senate Republicans have blocked the proposed stimulus bill, with a motion to proceed on the bill falling 8 votes short of the 60 needed to avoid a filibuster. Moreover, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy on the bill this morning in opposition of the bill. “If this bill were presented to the President, he would veto the bill,” it concludes (emphasis in original). So don’t count on that $250 million…